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Supply Chain Trends to Watch

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The following article review pertains to the article Supply Chain Trends to Watch by April Terreri, published on July 4, 2010. It includes a summary of the article and an opinion of the article’s relevance in today’s world of supply chain management. The article is a twelve paragraph work with subparagraphs for each major section. The first paragraph gives an insight into the supply chain business, including the key factors that control it and emerging changes, which must be handled precisely if the chain is to survive.

Key elements mentioned in the article are flexibility, collaboration and people involvement in supply chain operations. The writer emphasizes on the importance of managing change in industry trends in paragraphs two and three, including a paradigm shift regarding long-held believes and the way of doing things. This concept comes out clearly in paragraphs four (in the concept of SaaS implementation), ten and eleven. The writer views outsourcing as a viable alternative to owning certain processes, citing increased efficiency and economic gains. Towards the central paragraphs, April also focuses on optimization of IT integration giving, such as the idea of real time monitoring of market data. The aspect of profit maximization or reduing expenditure is largely discussed, a clear example being that of the U.S. companies relocating to China to gain from cheap labor, while ignoring effects the long distance effects, through which goods are transported from China.

The article attempts to project on the role of small medium enterprises in future supply chain businesses, the author having the opinion that these businesses are to be integrated into the supply chain business. He draws the feeling from the initiatives of the U.S. president to increase exports. Another primary strength, according to April, will be near-sourcing or setting up business near supply areas.

April discusses the idea of making decisions, which have positive economic effects in business, and gives the example of American companies’ relocation to China with a view to gain cheap labor. He then mentions the accompanying losses in transportation of materials and exports. While it is true that profit maximization should be a core objective in supply chain management, it is also crucial noting that other aspects of marketing operations may also influence a company’s decision to relocate, sometimes converse to known profit maximization trends.

The author fully handles the adaptaation to change in market trends as a key factor, bringing out such aspects as Software role and Information Technology as essential determinants of future supply chains performance.  It is clear in all sectors of business and management that embracing Information Technology is a key 21st century strategy for success. The writer, however, fails to give abundant or strong support to his ideas, usually citing just direct examples spoken by relevant persons in the supply chain business in place of solid principles. For instance, in the example regarding the travelling salesman and traffic routing, the writer mixes three distinct concepts (Real time solutions, travelling salesman problem, and truck routing in busy traffic) without properly illustrating their connection. The writer projects the idea of looking at trends differently as key in a proper manner. For instance, the idea that companies are now more interested in the type of client more than the number of clients.

April Terreri’s article ‘Supply Chain Trends to Watch’ is an informative, well researched article, which exhaustively covers the current trends in the supply chain business. It also gives a reliable insight into the future of this business, and key changes to effect for managers (Terreri 5). 

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